I was determined today to video chat with my BF in London, who has been seriously ill and is recuperating at home. Now, I should say upfront that I’m hopeless with all these video-calling apps. Maybe it’s just me, but it takes me so long to get them working that I might as well just jump on a plane and turn up in person.
I had a go with FaceTime – which now seems to be called FaceTap. But no matter how much tap- tap- tapping I did, it wasn’t going to work – I’d forgotten that it’s blocked in the UAE.
So I turned to Whatsapp. There was a brief moment of elation in the UAE a few months ago when the voice and video-calling features on Whatsapp were unblocked. I remember the day well: we did a happy dance at work and, around the UAE, millions of expatriates called friends and family back home on Whatsapp – rendering the network so overloaded that it became unresponsive.
Holding my breath, I tapped my BF’s contact and then the Whatsapp video icon – it half worked! I could see and hear her, the inside of her London apartment filling the screen, blurred at first, and wonky, then coming into clear focus.
“I can only see your photo! I can’t hear you!” said my BF. Her lovely face, out of sync with the sound, assumed a puzzled expression as she peered at her screen.
After a minute or two of me sending ‘I can see you!’ messages, like some kind of breathy, deep-throated dirty caller, I had to give up on Whatsapp too.
So Skype. This was the answer, I decided. I knew it worked in the UAE as I’ve used it before – there was just the small problem of the app apparently vanishing from my devices and not being able to download it again as my Apple password wasn’t working. Here’s how it went:
I cycle through all my other passwords, try out the obvious, attempt to recall what was going on in my life at the time I made the password. Make sure I’m typing correctly. I even try meditating.
I mean really? To avoid having your identity stolen, use long passwords that contain digits, punctuation and no recognisable words. Make up a different password for every website –and change all of your passwords every 30 days. HAVE THESE SECURITY PUNDITS EVER LISTENED TO THEMSELVES? Apparently the inventor of passwords has even publicly said his creation is a ‘nightmare’.
My mind wanders to a press release I’d received about a new service in the UAE called Geeks. They promise to come and sort out all your technical problems, from setting up a cloud backup to installing a nanny cam (!) If Catherine the Great ever leaves us, I’m so going to hire a Geek to live in her room and never have any technical problems ever again!
The meditating failing, I get annoyed and want to throw my iPad out the window. I’m so sure one of the passwords I’m trying is the right one.
Eventually, I go about resetting my Apple password, using ‘my trusted phone number’, a combination of digits and the last of my will power.
And a message flashes up: ‘New password can’t be old password”
Sets fire to computer.